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Japan reveals names of notorious Unit 731

By Wang Jingwen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-04-17 07:14
The site of Unit 731's 643 detachment in Hailin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province. [Photo/IC]

The real names of almost all 3,607 members of Unit 731, the Japanese Imperial Army's biological-warfare research division based in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin during World War II, were revealed for the first time at a press conference in Kyoto University on March 14.

The list of Unit 731 recorded real names, rank and contact methods of 52 military doctors, 49 technicians, 38 female nurses, 1,117 combat medics, officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army.

Many of the members, including Shiro Ishii, director of Unit 731, were recruited from the Kyoto University according to the documents. They used the data and results from human experiments from graduation theses, and got the degrees by Kyoto University.

For example, a medical officer's thesis about fleas infected by pestilence bacteria was used in a major biological weapon made by lethal human experiments. Referring to the process, the thesis recorded "monkey experienced headache", which signals they used living beings to do the experiments, said Keiichi Tsuneishi, professor of Kanagawa University.

Now Kyoto University has been asked to cancel the degrees of Unit 731. Currently, autographs are being collected to demand further investigation in July.

This is also the first time it has been confirmed that the Japanese government maintained detailed documents on Unit 731, more than 70 years after World War II. In 2016, the Japanese government disclosed some information, but blacked out many parts "to protect the families” of war criminals. In January, under public pressure, the Japanese government published the names of Unit 731 made half a year before the end of the war.

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